- The Washington Times - Friday, November 22, 2002

HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) A bill that would create a new national park on a Civil War battlefield in the Shenandoah Valley has cleared Congress and is awaiting President Bush's signature.

The Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historic Park Act was approved by the House of Representatives in October and the Senate on Wednesday.

The bill would create a 3,000-acre park in parts of Frederick, Warren and Shenandoah counties.

"This is great news for historic preservation and economic development in the northern Shenandoah Valley," said Dan Scandling, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican and the bill's sponsor.

"It's not necessarily a controversial bill, so we're fully expecting it" to be signed by Mr. Bush, said Meredith Moseley, a spokeswoman for Sen. John W. Warner, Virginia Republican and another sponsor of the bill.

Private groups already protect about 600 acres of the 15,000-acre battlefield, including Belle Grove Plantation. The Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation owns 308 of those acres.

Belle Grove Plantation, owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, owns another 283 acres. Belle Grove Foundation operates the plantation. Both foundations will retain ownership of their land upon the establishment of the national historical park.

The bill calls for the rest of the land to be acquired by the secretary of the interior from "willing sellers only, by donation, purchase with donated or appropriated funds or exchange."

The boundary for the proposed park includes land where some of the heaviest fighting during the Battle of Cedar Creek took place on Oct. 19, 1864. It was the last major battle of the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley and broke Confederate resistance in the area.

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